By Lynne Nolan
ME's tourism boom has pushed hospitality industry to search for innovation in the midst of ever-increasing competition.
The Middle East's tourism boom has pushed our hotel and restaurant industries to search for innovation in the delivery of their products in the midst of ever-increasing competition. Six million tourists visit Dubai alone annually, a figure predicted to hit 15 million by 2010 and one that clearly indicates the plethora of dining spaces coming up.
As we constantly discover food and beverage concept openings, the mission among industry professionals remains the same-to secure breathtaking designs in their tableware selections.
Without doubt, the industry has departed from the view of tableware as the neutral backdrop against which chefs set the artistry of their cuisine. The emergence of new concepts in the region has further fuelled the search for collections that satisfy the increased design awareness among a new generation of diners, while complementing the influx of new cuisines.
Formal settings with precise service and classical cuisine previously demanded only one thing from their tableware-reserve, yet restaurateurs must now bring verve and scrutinise every detail from A to Z. Such concentration on achieving originality has encouraged owners to collect pieces from far flung places, customise their collections and avoid making incorrect decisions for even the smallest accessory.
To take an example, restaurateurs often choose classic patterns within a modern setting, an approach that dilutes the message they are trying to establish.
The right financial balance should be achieved with the purchase of the table line-up, and cash shortcuts should never enter the tableware selection procedure.
The selected style and quality of tableware nowadays says as much about a restaurant as its cuisine, ambience, furniture and customer service, so the style, colour and suitability of this profit vehicle is paramount regardless of whether the outlet is fine dining, high volume or casual. Although there has been a steady shift from formal patterned tableware to plainer contemporary styles at new openings, mixing and matching has emerged in force to bring a sense of theatricality as the courses arrive for diners' shrewd examination.
A move towards the use of eclectic materials is also evident in new product developments, as cutting edge designs should reflect the food expected and the overall image of the restaurant.
This definitive guide to tableware provides an ideal update for decision makers in the hospitality sector aiming to focus on personal expression in a crowded market, in turn tapping the potential for huge profits from first time and repeat business.